Egypt violence: UK backs EU review

By staff

Britain is backing the European Union's moves to review its relations with Egypt, after the deaths of hundreds of people in recent days.

Foreign secretary William Hague warned Egyptian foreign minister Nabil Fahmy of the EU's "collective determination to support a peaceful resolution of the situation" in a telephone call yesterday evening.

Now the EU is threatening to reassess its relationship with Egypt on a more fundamental basis, with a statement from European Council president Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso.

"To this effect, together with its member states, the EU will urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt and adopt measures aimed at pursuing these goals," Reuters reported the statement as saying.

The Foreign Office backs the review, a spokesperson told The Egyptian government has committed to a political roadmap but its basis – between parties accepting "peaceful political processes" – has been undermined by recent violence.

Yesterday saw an exchange of gunfire between government troops and men shooting from a minaret of the al-Fath mosque in Cairo.

The Egyptian Cabinet is now considering dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force, as further demonstrations take place on Sunday.

"The foreign secretary emphasised UK condemnation of all acts of violence, whether disproportionate use of force by the security forces or violent actions by some demonstrators," a spokesperson said.

"They also discussed the recent attacks on places of worship and the foreign secretary stressed that attacks on mosques and churches were unacceptable and that places of worship must be protected."

Friday's 'day of anger' saw 173 people lose their lives.

"The continued political stalemate can only be resolved through dialogue and an immediate return to negotiations over a sustainable political settlement for Egypt," shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said.

"Further bloodshed risks escalating the situation further and will make much needed reconciliation even harder to achieve."